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Former President Donald Trump has filed a major lawsuit against struggling CNN, alleging damages to his reputation over what he calls “fake news.”
The suit, filed on Monday, seeks hundreds of millions and alleges that the network is actively working against him and a potential 2024 campaign.
Specifically, according to a court filing, Trump is seeking $75,000 in compensatory damages and $475 million in punitive damages, as well as court costs.
“A lawsuit was filed today against CNN, the once prestigious news channel that has devolved into a purveyor of disinformation, defamation, and Fake News, at a level which the American Public, and indeed the World, will not even believe is possible,” he said in an announcement posted to his Truth Social platform. “For years I have watched this take place, often in disbelief, but the time has finally come to hold CNN responsible and legally accountable for their willful deception and defamatory statements made about me,” he added.
A statement accompanying the post indicated that Trump also plans to file similar lawsuits against a number of other media outlets, though they were not listed.
The suit also accuses the network of doing all it can to undermine and malign Trump for the sole purpose of harming him.
“President Donald J. Trump, has been a long-time critic of the defendant, Cable News Network, Inc. (‘CNN’) — not because CNN does a bad job of reporting the news, but because CNN seeks to create the news,” the lawsuit said.
“Beyond simply highlighting any negative information about the plaintiff and ignoring all positive information about him, CNN has sought to use its massive influence — purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source — to defame the plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election,” the lawsuit added.
“CNN’s campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against the plaintiff has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears the plaintiff will run for president in 2024,” it said.
The suit calls CNN’s coverage of Trump “part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the Left” with the use of “scandalous, false and defamatory labels” which amounts to a “reckless disregard for the truth.”
“CNN has been given the dreaded ‘Pants on Fire!’ designation by PolitiFact for its stories comparing Trump to Hitler. Still, it persists, requiring the time and expense of filing the instant lawsuit,” the complaint added.
“CNN has undertaken a smear campaign to malign the plaintiff with a barrage of negative associations and innuendos, broadcasting commentary that he is like a cult leader, a Russian lackey, a dog whistler to white supremacists and a racist. It is the stuff of tabloids cloaked as ‘honored’ news,” the complaint said before going on to cite instances when the term was utilized.
“CNN’s persistent use of ever-increasing defamatory characterizations of the Plaintiff up to and including comparing him to [Adolph] Hitler and Nazism demonstrates that it published its defamatory statements about the Plaintiff with actual malice,” the complaint continues.
The suit also cites an instance of CNN utilizing Nazi imagery to describe Trump as well as a Jan. 9 reference to “the Big Lie,” which is also linked to Hitler.
“CNN’s highly defamatory and persistent association of the plaintiff to Hitler and Hitler’s ‘Big Lie’ is no mistaken misappropriation,” the lawsuit read.
“It is wanton and malicious ‘reporting’ intended to feed a narrative and to achieve the desired end: to cause readers and viewers to associate the plaintiff with the lowest of low, to fear him, to not vote for him, and to support campaigns against him,” the complaint said.
In July, the former president formally demanded that CNN withdraw what he termed defamatory material in a notice of intent to file litigation. Specifically, the letter refuted CNN’s reporting that claimed Trump was “lying” about the results of the 2020 election.
“President Trump’s comments are not lies: He subjectively believes that the results of the 2020 presidential election turned on fraudulent voting activity in several key states,” the letter said.